Religious studies in the web archive: a new opportunity?

To paraphrase a former archbishop of Canterbury, this post is a call to hearken unto the cause of the archived web. Religious studies scholars were quick to embrace the emerging discipline of Internet Studies (1), and in particular to see the potential of social media as an object of study for understanding new ways in which individuals and organisations acted religiously online.

This enthusiasm has not been matched by a similar engagement with the archived web. The group of researchers engaged by the Institute of Historical Research and the British Library as part of a recent project included historians, archaeologists, and scholars of contemporary literature, economic life and sociology, but no scholar from within the broad disciplines of theology and religious studies. This is a shame, since the time coverage of the most long-standing web archives such as the Internet Archive is now nearly two decades. These resources now afford an opportunity to examine patterns of change in the recent past; questions that are out of scope for the more present-focussed field of Internet Studies. (I shall be arguing for a closer integration of these fields at a forthcoming conference in Oxford, in May.)

But what kind of inquiry does this new class of scholarly resource allow? At the most basic level, the existence of web archives allows scholars to consult versions of webpages that have either changed in important ways, or disappeared entirely. For example, the UK Web Archive has a copy of the aid charity Christian Aid’s stance in relation to the General Election in the UK in 2010, which is no longer live. Neither is the intervention of the Roman Catholic Church in England in the same election.

This kind of use is similar in kind to the sort of document study that scholars are accustomed to. But the nature of web archives as Big Data also allows a kind of ‘distant reading': the discernment and interpretation of trends across larger bodies of material. I have myself explored the change in link structures in the UK web in response to a moment of religious controversy—the 2008 row concerning Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and Islamic shari’a law. Another example of this kind of approach is another blog post on the strength and number of inbound links to creationist sites in the UK.

Scholars interested in religious life and feeling in the nineties and noughties will before too long have to engage with the archived web. Scholars curious to know more could do worse that to start with some of the resources listed in the bibliography at Web Archives for Historians.

(1) See, for instance, the survey by Heidi Campbell in Charles Ess & Mia Consalvo (eds), The Handbook of Internet Studies (2011)

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Posted in Open Data, Open Scholarship, Open Tools

Open Library of Humanities Update, Part 2: More about disciplinary curation; a first Religious Studies content initiative; and partnering with libraries for sustainable funding

Open Library of Humanities
In Part 1 of this Open Library of Humanities Update, I reported that the article submissions platform, built in partnership with Ubiquity Press, has been launched and is now accepting submissions. I also introduced the Religious Studies and Theology Section editors. In Part 2, I want to indicate how disciplinary content published on OLH will be curated; announce a first Religious Studies call for papers initiative (an example of content curation); and describe OLH’s sustainable funding model.

Curated disciplinary content and traditional journals in a multidisciplinary environment

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) has its own ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)—2056-6700—but it’s not a periodical or journal in the traditional sense. OLH is not a single society, association, or departmental title with a general or specific disciplinary focus that publishes articles ‘periodically’ in self-contained ‘issues’. Rather, it is a journal publishing platform that aims to involve a broad multidisciplinary constituency across the humanities. As I mentioned in Part 1, the megajournal platform model is designed to scale publishing capacity while bringing economic cost advantages. As a multidisciplinary gathering place, it can also stimulate interdisciplinary conversation and research.

Scholars used to the more traditional journal model may be concerned to know how their published research will be discovered/able in this multidisciplinary environment. I asked OLH co-director, Dr. Martin Paul Eve, if this might put some authors off.

The new megajournal is a space for those who want to submit to the platform for the broader benefits it may bestow (access, speed of publication, etc.). You are right that it is harder to attract submissions here because of the breadth. If a space is for everyone, there is a temptation for everyone to assume that it is not for them. We have a large number of pledged articles, though, and these are coming in. We are also in the process of crafting specifically shaped CFPs [calls for papers] for special collections in the areas of our editors’ expertise within the megajournal.

Jonathan Harwell, one of the Religious Studies and Theology Section editors also responded to this question.

The OLH platform is open for submissions from academics across the humanities, and some disciplinary sections have received more submissions than others at this point. With this in mind, our calls for papers are actively targeting those sections that have not received as many submissions yet. Since each Section Editor has a distinct disciplinary interest, it isn’t as if articles are being sent into a single pool for curation and peer review. Rather, the articles are delivered to specific editors according to the disciplinary emphasis. Scholars who find their homes in distinct disciplines within the humanities, as well as those doing interdisciplinary research, now have a major opportunity to submit their work to a broad megajournal that houses a cross-section of papers curated by editors in relevant disciplines.

So, again, OLH will be fully browsable/searchable like any robust modern web-based publishing platform. I imagine it will also be regularly crawled for search engine discoverability. But Section Editors will bring disciplinary focus through curation of published content. This could take the form of “overlay journals” or special collections (more on this in a moment).

Dr. Eve told me that the megajournal platform will also be used to host existing disciplinary journals that choose to convert to open access from a subscription model. These journals can maintain brand independence while utilizing OLH’s technical infrastructure.

Journals that come on board the OLH are a different matter and the focus on ‘overlay’ is perhaps misplaced. The idea here is that they can maintain their full autonomy of brand and peer review practice. They can accept submissions, run special issues, choose to operate on a rolling or issue-based publication schedule, etc. We will underwrite their costs and take on their technical platform. Therefore, if there are existing journals who would like to discuss this, we are interested in hearing from them. We are basically a publisher who can help run an OA journal without author fees.

The journals are ‘overlay journals’ in one specific sense, though. If the editors wish, we are developing the functionality to allow them to build a table of contents, in a separate space in their current ‘issue’, that points to articles elsewhere in the ecosystem. It’s a little like a retweet on Twitter. If an editor sees an article somewhere else in the OLH, and thinks it will be of value to their readers, we’d like them to be able to craft a custom ToC that demonstrates this. In this way, editors are valued for their curatorial role while articles may benefit from increased readerships.

First OLH Religious Studies curated content initiative: Call for papers: “Religious Subcultures in Unexpected Places” Special Collection

As I reported in Part 1, the formal launch of OLH is slated “between May and Summer” with an estimated 120 published articles (based on scholar pledges). The potential for usefully curating content with a disciplinary focus will be demonstrated at launch through a number of targeted disciplinary “special collections.” These special collections will be like thematic or special topics issues in traditional journals.

One such special collection is being planned by Religious Studies and Theology Section editor, Jonathan Harwell. He has just released a call for papers called “Religious Subcultures in Unexpected Places.”

Other Section Editors in religious studies and theology have a range of specific interests. My own emphasis is where those studies intersect with anthropology. That is the focus of this special collection. We’re aiming to publish 4-6 peer-reviewed articles. I’d appreciate your assistance in spreading the word regarding this call for papers.

Follow the link for more information.

How will OLH be sustainably funded? Library Partnership Subsidies

OLH received initial funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to kickstart the project and build out the technical infrastructure in partnership with Ubiquity Press. As has been mentioned, OLH will operate as a not-for-profit entity and will capitalize on the scalability of its web-based online platform to reduce costs. But how will it be funded sustainably if it is neither relying on subscription revenue—as most traditional academic journals do—nor planning on imposing author-facing charges—known as “article processing charges” or APCs, as many open access journals, particularly in the sciences, do?

For Martin Eve, the question of sustainability at OLH is first contextualized within a strong philosophy of commitment to access in humanities scholarly communications:

It seems clear to me that the market model for scholarly communications is failing us. Libraries and scholars share, worldwide, the same goal: for high-quality, peer-reviewed research to be published so that the broadest audience can get access. The subscription mode, though, has led to an access gap and budgetary crisis based on well-documented hyperinflationary price hikes. By contrast, other proposals to fund gold open access seem only to replicate this inequality on the author side: no pay, no say. The philosophy of the OLH model is that we will all get better value if we pool our resources to achieve our shared aim. In this way, there is no local concentration of costs, there is no exclusion based on authors being unable to pay and libraries of all sizes can make a meaningful contribution, relative to their own financial stature, for these disciplines, which lag behind the sciences on open access.

The innovative funding approach OLH has settled on is captured in Eve’s phrase “libraries of all sizes can make a meaningful contribution.” Currently, academic libraries are major purchasers of journal literature on behalf of their institution’s students, faculty, and researchers, typically through subscriptions on a title-by-title or bundled basis. Every library has to pay to assure ongoing access through a quasi-monopolistic system immune to normal pricing pressures. Ironically, the access that libraries are paying for is often to the very research produced by the scholars at their own institutions. In this system, libraries become mere purchasing agents facing continually reduced purchasing power as their budgets flatten, decline, or otherwise fail to keep pace with publisher inflation.

OLH is proposing a meaningful role for libraries to directly support the work of humanities scholarship at their institutions and beyond while helping to assure access for users at their institutions and beyond. The OLH Library Partnership Subsidies (LPS) [PDF] is a cooperative program that aims to leverage the modest on-going contributions of numerous libraries to reduce the cost of publishing open access articles on the OLH platform without requiring authors to bear any cost of publication. The more libraries that participate the lower the per article cost, facilitating greater publishing capacity.

In this illustration (from the LPS flyer), the cost to publish 250 articles per year on the OLH platform is estimated at $185,000 (or $740/article). But distributed across an increasing number of participating libraries, the cost per article borne by each participant falls significantly. The contribution required by each library also falls.

LPS cost illustrationWith this approach, the role libraries play shifts from purchasing agent to a direct funder of research communication. OLH envisions a further role for participating libraries as members of a Library Board, consulting in OLH governance decisions, including the inclusion of new disciplinary overlay journals.

Recently, OLH announced a partnership with the library consortium organization LYRASIS to serve as exclusive agent for signing up OLH library partners in North America (membership in LYRASIS is not required to participate). Yearly participation rates have been set in the United States for the following tiers:

  • $1,000 for 10,000+ FTE institutions
  • $750 for 5,000-9,999 FTE institutions
  • $500 for 0-5,000 FTE institutions

This looks like excellent value. To translate my own interest in this innovative project into productive support, I just signed up my library as a partner.

Posted in Economics & Business Models, Open Access, Open Access Journals, Peer Review, Publishing Platforms, Scholarly Associations, Scholarly Journals

Open Library of Humanities Update, Part 1: Now accepting submissions; Religious Studies and Theology editors in place

OLHlogoAn idea whose time has come often takes time to develop. Two years have elapsed since Dr. Martin Paul Eve first issued a call on his blog for participants to help build a “PLOS-style model for the Humanities and Social Sciences.” (I covered and commented on Dr. Eve’s call here.) A broad and deep response to this call from the humanities community internationally set this timely idea in motion through scholar-led organization and governance, seed grant funding, and lots of hard work. On December 2, 2014, the Open Library of Humanities site announced that through its technology partnership with the open access publisher Ubiquity Press, the submissions platform for the multi/interdisciplinary humanities “megajournal” is now open and ready to accept submissions! The formal launch of OLH with the publication of an estimated 120 articles (based on scholar pledges) is slated for “between May and Summer 2015.” You can visit OLH’s submissions platform here to learn about publication guidelines, and to submit your article. See also this announcement on the Ubiquity Press blog.

The “megajournal” concept leverages the ubiquitypresslogoscalability of a robust centralized online submissions and publication platform. Ubiquity Press has built the enhanced platform based on Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal Systems open source journal software. The platform will serve as a multidisciplinary humanities research environment.

OLH takes a broad, inclusive understanding of the academic humanities, from classics, religious studies & theology, modern languages and literatures through to political philosophy, critical legal studies, anthropology and newer subject areas such as critical theory & cultural studies, film, media & TV studies. (from the OLH Library Partnership Subsidies flyer)

Section editors have been selected and are tasked with receiving and pre-screening relevant disciplinary submissions, routing them to qualified peer reviewers, corresponding with authors, promoting OLH, etc. Additional editors will be engaged as article submission volumes increase or as subject expertise needs to be expanded. The section editors will also curate content into disciplinary “overlay journals.” As this content builds and overlay journals are identified (including established journals currently outside of OLH that might choose to publish their content in a co-branding relationship with OLH), authors can submit articles targeted to these specific discipline areas or journals. Since content across the platform will be browsable/searchable, the megajournal can also contribute to and support interdisciplinary research.

Religious Studies and Theology Section editors are in place

Speaking of section editors, a slate for Religious Studies and Theology editors have been selected and are now in place, ready to shepherd your submissions through the editorial and review process:

  • Jonathan Harwell, Collections and Systems Librarian, Rollins College, Florida, USA, with a research interest in the cultural history of Quakers in the Southern United States
  • Athanasios Koutoupas, a graduate student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, with research interests that include Hellenistic Religion and Ptolemaic Egyptian History
  • Dr. Timothy Lubin, Professor of Religion, Washington and Lee University, Virginia, USA, teaches and researches on South Asian (Indian) Religious and Legal History
  • Dr. Thomas E. Phillips, Dean of the Library and Professor of Theological Bibliography, Claremont School of Theology, California, USA, with a research interest focusing on Luke-Acts in the New Testament
  • Garrett Brooks Trott, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Corban University, Oregon, USA, with a background in theological studies

I reached out to these editors and asked them how they learned about OLH; what motivated their interest in becoming a Religious Studies and Theology section editor; and if they could speak to their philosophy of/identification with open access. I received several very thoughtful responses to my inquiry, including this comment from Garrett Trott:

I found out about [Open Library of Humanities] as I was doing some research for a presentation proposal related to open access. I was really intrigued with the idea, particularly as OA really seems to be a “big thing” in the hard sciences—which I believe is in large part a reaction to what publishers have done with some major journals in the hard sciences. However, I do believe that humanities are not far behind—particularly as journal publishers (like Sage and Taylor & Francis) begin to look at taking over more humanities related journals. I really wanted to do my part to make future humanities scholarship available open access—and OLH does exactly that.

And Professor Timothy Lubin replied (excerpted):

My interest in this open access project is a symptom of my frustration with how proprietary practices have developed in the digital era, in the spheres of both dissemination of scholarship and delivery of educational materials. In both these spheres, for-profit publishers and distributers—perversely, given the opportunities for wider dissemination of information—found ways actually to drive up prices on scholarship and textbooks. A few conglomerates have come to dominate the scholarly journals and some monograph series, setting rates far beyond the means of many schools and other institutions. Meanwhile, copyright permissions for course packs, and prices of textbooks, are artificially inflated at alarming rates. …

Although I have good access to material behind paywalls on account of my university post, I have many colleagues in South Asia and Russia (and even some in Europe!) who are stranded outside the paywall. Most of my work pertains to Indian religious and legal history, but readers in India are unable to read much of what is published in the field, and as a result, scholarship there (and even public discourse) is often based on outdated information.

I would like to see this transition come about sooner rather than later, but I recognize that quality control is crucial—open-access should not come to be associated with second-quality work declined by the premier presses. Tenured faculty need to take the lead, so it is in that spirit that I threw in my hat.

I have been impressed by the visibility religious studies and theology is garnering at OLH, including the level of scholarly representation from our disciplines at the organizational level (as I wrote about here*). I think this bodes well, and I look forward to continuing developments.

In Part 2 of this post I want to indicate how disciplinary content published on OLH will be curated; announce a first Religious Studies call for papers initiative (an example of content curation); and describe OLH’s sustainable funding model.

*Note: Peter Webster is now a partner with me here at Omega Alpha. But the blog is not otherwise affiliated with Open Library of Humanities.

Posted in Economics & Business Models, Intellectual Property & Copyright, Open Access, Open Access Journals, Peer Review, Publishing Platforms, Scholarly Journals

Public Domain Day 2015 for Religious Studies and Theology? Send in your titles

publicdomain2015logoThe other day after New Year’s I visited the Public Domain Day 2015 page on Duke [University] Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain site. The page celebrates creative and cultural works—books, films, works of art, photographs, music, reports of scientific research (monographs and journal articles), etc.—whose copyrights expire, and on January 1 enter into the public domain in the United States and other countries. The page notes that over time changes in law, especially in the United States, have tended to increase the period (in years) that copyrights remain in force.

When the first copyright law was written in the United States, copyright lasted 14 years, renewable for another 14 years if the author wished. Jefferson or Madison could look at the books written by their contemporaries and confidently expect them to be in the public domain within a decade or two. Now? In the United States, as in much of the world, copyright lasts for the author’s lifetime, plus another 70 years. You might think, therefore, that works whose authors died in 1944 would be freely available on January 1, 2015. Sadly, no. When Congress changed the law, it applied the term extension retrospectively to existing works, and gave all in-copyright works published between 1923 and 1977 a term of 95 years. The result? None of those works will enter the public domain until 2019, and works from 1958, whose arrival we might otherwise be expecting January 1, 2015, will not enter the public domain until 2054. In addition to lengthening the term, Congress also changed the law so that every creative work is automatically copyrighted, even if the author does nothing. (link original)

As a consequence, Public Domain Day also becomes a less celebratory occasion to highlight significant works that could have entered into the public domain had earlier versions of copyright law remained in effect. Specific reference to works published in 1958 above point to time limits on copyright that were in force in the United States prior to the enactment of the Copyright Act of 1976 (the Act went into effect in 1978), which had an initial fixed term of 28 years that was renewable for another 28 years, for a total of 56 years—the period that would have expired on January 1, 2015.

Copyright was intended to grant and protect for original creators the opportunity to derive due recognition and commercial benefit from their creative or intellectual activity. This opportunity was intended to be limited so that, as it were, the energy of that activity could be released back into the public sphere in a friction-free manner to spur fresh creative and intellectual endeavors for the ongoing benefit of society. The Public Domain Day page highlights several reasons why a robust public domain matters, including: supplying the raw material for new creative activity; assuring preservation of past artifacts for future generations; helping to make education more affordable and interactive; the opening of government; and easing the research process for scholars.

Public Domain Day 2015 for Religious Studies and Theology?

Today (January 19, 2015) is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. King was a pastor and a leader in the 1950s-60s African-American Civil Rights Movement, who worked for racial equality in American society based on his Christian beliefs and principles of nonviolence. Serendipitously, as I scanned the list of titles on the Public Domain Day page, I came across Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. This was Martin Luther King’s first book, published in 1958 by Harper & Brothers, as a memoir of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56, which he led. The Public Domain Day page commented on the prospects for this book (and others in the list) entering into the public domain:

[I]magine [this book] being freely stride.kingavailable to students and educators around the world. You would be free to translate [it] into other languages, create Braille or audio versions for visually impaired readers…, or adapt [it] for theater or film. You could read [it] online or buy cheaper print editions, because others were free to republish [it]. … That is how the public domain feeds creativity. [But] instead of seeing [this literary work] enter the public domain in 2015, we will have to wait until 2054.

As I thought about the titles published in 1958—including King’s Stride Toward Freedom—listed on this year’s Public Domain Day page, I wondered about titles specifically published in the disciplines of religious studies and theology that might have entered into the public domain on January 1. I was particularly interested in my own discipline of Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) Studies. A cursory catalog search brought up several titles that had been influential in my studies, including:

  • Bernhard W. Anderson. Understanding the Old Testament. Prentice-Hall.
  • Frank Moore Cross. The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies. Doubleday.
  • Cyrus Herzl Gordon. The World of the Old Testament. Doubleday.
  • Martin Noth. The History of Israel. Harper & Brothers.
  • James B. Pritchard. The Ancient Near East. Princeton University Press.

Send in titles from your discipline(s) of study or research

I would be interested in seeing a list of significant titles from your particular discipline(s) in religious studies or theology that would have entered the public domain on January 1 before copyright term limits were extended (e.g., the current “death of the author plus 70 years”). If you live in the United States, it is fairly easy to identify titles published in 1958, following the approach taken by the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. In other places, such as the United Kingdom, I understand previous copyright term limits were the year the author died plus 50 years. In which case, works of authors who died in 1964 would have entered the public domain on January 1. I’d also be interested in hearing your thoughts on the benefits of having scholarly works enter into the public domain.

Posted in "The Hat Tip", Intellectual Property & Copyright

Introducing Peter Webster

A few words of introduction as I join the OA | OA team, in response to Gary’s very generous invitation. I started my academic life as an historian of early modern English religion, but in recent years have carried many of the same preoccupations into the twentieth century. My interests are now in British religious history since 1945, with a particular focus on the Anglican church, the religious arts, and evangelicalism. I have two forthcoming books: one on Michael Ramsey, archbishop of Canterbury, due in 2015; and a second on Walter Hussey, dean of Chichester cathedral and the most significant Anglican patron of the arts in the twentieth century.

Despite all this research, my career has not been a traditional SAS_Brochure2012academic one, which explains in part the involvement in this blog. My first job was as a web developer for a digitisation project, when such things were new and exciting. I then moved to London to work on the British History Online project at the Institute of Historical Research (also digitisation, but on a much larger scale.) Alongside that, I took on the management of the institutional repository for the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, and its open access journal platform, SAS Open Journals. As a result, I found myself more and more drawn into the debates on open access publishing as they played out in the UK, and in relation to the humanities. A flavour of my thinking may be found on my blog.

Subsequently, I have been professionally involved in the archiving of the web, as part of the UK Web Archive team at the British Library, and as program officer for the International Internet Preservation Consortium. My central interest throughout was understanding what use scholars, particularly in the humanities, were going to make of the archived web as a new class of primary source. This led me to set up Web Archives for Historians, in conjunction with Ian Milligan of the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada). (See some of my blogging on web archiving.)

Most recently I have set up a new consultancy, Webster Research and Consulting, which helps libraries, archives and researchers understand what their users need from digital resources for research, and then to build better services to meet those needs.

These are exciting times in digital scholarship, and I look forward to the journey in theology and religious studies, and helping a little by means of this blog.

Posted in Interviews (Scholars)

New year, new Omega Alpha

colorful 2015 creative design

A very happy 2015 to all our readers. To welcome the new year, Omega Alpha | Open Access has both a new look and an expanded scope.

Up to now, the blog has been closely focused on Open Access (capital O, capital A) as it relates to scholarly journals and books for religious studies and theology (RS&T). However, the last few years have seen the development of several other “opens”: open data, open peer review for publications, or the development of software tools in an open source way, to name just a few.

More generally, there seems to be an increasing unwillingness to accept the apparent givenness of much of the apparatus by which scholarly activity is conducted, from the initial interaction with primary sources, through the in-progress interaction between scholars, to the publication and dissemination of finished research outputs. This questioning is in part the natural behaviour of scholars, but it is also connected with a broader dissatisfaction with the apparent marketisation of scholarship and with the means by which scholarly activity is assessed and funded. There are signs of a more collaborative culture emerging, which has the shape of a ‘freemium’ business model for scholarship, in which collaboration and sharing of certain parts of one’s intellectual capital is instrumental in the building of one’s reputation and professional network.

With the addition to the OA|OA team of Dr Peter Webster, the time is right for this blog to take into view all these various developments in open scholarship, and the connections between them.

Areas might include (but are not limited to):

  • “crowdsourced” projects that involve the public in the making of new data sources
  • new digital resources, with a particular preference for resources that allow innovative kinds of user interaction
  • innovative modes of sharing of data/texts
  • use of social media and other means of scholarly network formation and public engagement
  • development in peer review
  • altmetrics and developments in research assessment
  • open source tools that might be of use to RS&T scholars

Also welcome are broader reflections on the implication of this digital turn for RS&T, for engagement, “impact”, and career structures and trajectories. Arguably, given the diversity of potential audiences for work in these disciplines, these new developments should be of greater than average concern.

Posted in Commercial Publishing, Economics & Business Models, Intellectual Property & Copyright, Open Access, Open Access Journals, Open Access Monographs, Open Data, Open Peer Review, Open Repositories & Digital Libraries, Open Scholarship, Open Tools, Peer Review, Publishing Platforms, Publishing Technology, Scholarly Journals

“The public domain is … a disgrace to the forces of evil”

A Fair(y) Use Tale (2007) is a short film by Eric Faden, Associate Professor of English at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA). Faden mashed-up clips from several Disney animated movies to create this transformative (and therefore, legal) work to inform about copyright and fair use. The irony that Faden used material from The Walt Disney Company—which vigorously (some would say notoriously) defends its copyright—is not lost on the viewer.

A couple of my favorite scenes:
Starting at 3:13: “No, no, no, no. Wait! Wait.” “Listen carefully. You-can’t-copy-right-an idea.” “Yes, I can.” “You can’t.” “Can.” “Can’t! Can’t! Ca-a-an’t!” “But why?” “Our culture-thought that it would be unwise-to-limit-the-power-of-a great idea.”

Starting at 4:48: “Hey, what the heck is-the-public-domain?” [silence] “Anyone?” [nervous cough] “The-public-domain-is-a disgrace to the forces of evil.” “What are you saying exactly?” “A-work-in-the-public-domain-is-free-for-anyone-to-use.” “Can you do that?” “Yes. It’s-essential-because-our culture-created-new-ideas-by building-on-earlier-works.” “Ah, so-the-public-domain-is-necessary-for-a living, thriving society.” “Duh.” “Unfortunately,-copy-right-keeps-getting-longer,-and there seems to be no-limitation-on-how long-copy-right-lasts.” “It’s called a cruel irony.”

Posted in "The Hat Tip", Commercial Publishing, Intellectual Property & Copyright

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